Past Events

Erika Wise
Friday, October 25, 2019, 03:00pm - 04:00pm
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Erika Wise, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Climate Extremes in the Tree-Ring Record

The frequency and severity of climate extremes are likely to change in a warming climate. Because the timing and spatial extent of pre-instrumental climate extremes such as droughts and floods are used to understand their driving forces and to validate climate models, delineating paleoclimate patterns is vital for deciphering the past and for future planning. Tree-ring records, which are abundant, have annual resolution, and are strongly connected to climate conditions, are one of the most commonly used paleoclimate data sources for understanding past climate.  However, the timing and form of precipitation is not always matched well with the recording period in trees.  This is particularly true on the North American West Coast, where atmospheric river events can provide 30-50% of annual precipitation in just a few storms.  In this talk, I will discuss the challenges of extracting information on climate extremes from tree-ring records. I will present my recent research showing that there is strong potential to improve these records through a focus on extreme capture and by incorporating other metrics that can be measured in trees. I will also discuss how the incorporation of information from other types of paleoclimate data sources and the use of data assimilation techniques can aid our interpretation of past climate and help us understand changes in climate extremes. 

Erika Wise is beginning her 10th year in the Department of Geography at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she is an Associate Professor. Her research uses the tools of synoptic climatology and dendrochronology to answer questions concerning Western North America’s climate and water resources in both recent times and in past centuries.  After earning a B.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Erika worked for several years in the Water Resources Division of the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA, as well as for an environmental consulting company in San Francisco.  Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are from the Department of Geography at the University of Arizona, where she was also affiliated with the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. Her current NSF-funded research project aims to reconstruct climate extremes and their synoptic climate drivers in western North America at the end of the Little Ice Age by integrating tree-ring and historical climate records.

An informal gathering will take place at Pino's in Highland Park after the talk.

All talks in the Speaker Series take place in Tillett Hall, Room 246, on the Livingston Campus, 54 Joyce Kilmer Ave, unless otherwise noted.

Location 7
Speaker:Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro
Salvatore talk image